Children help Julia Mary Grey with her mosaic

It has been the brightest of weeks in Salt River and scores of people from all over Cape Town and beyond are expected to come out to celebrate this weekend. More than 30 artists have painted the suburb every shade of red and many others besides during Cape Town’s first International Public Art Festival.

Every time I have been down there the artists have been surrounded by children, many of them eager to help. The children of this neighbourhood have claimed the project as their own and have done a lot more than dab the odd bit of paint here and there.

A 125-metre wall in Dove Street, entirely the work of local youngsters completed with guidance from artists, including Hajila, is a legacy of and for a community that has opened doors, walls, hearts and homes.

Senzo Nhlapo ©Senzart911

The fun and festivities are due to climax this weekend when the final touches will be put to the artworks, and many locals and visitors will come out to celebrate and admire the neighbourhood’s brand new look.

The festival is a launchpad for various other programmes, all of which will use art as a platform for education and upliftment. Some of these have already started with local children among the beneficiaries with art classes being held at the Blackpool football club and at two schools.

There will be various art-focused activities at and around the Blackpool football club this weekend. Many Salt River residents will be on hand to take visitors on tours of the suburb and its new art for a small fee. There will also be music and food (local delights prepared by people from the neighbourhood) as well as other entertainment.

It’s all happening in and around Blackpool football club, 9 Shelley Road, Salt River.

More information www.ipafest.co.za

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